Good Brownies

13 Feb

Life is too important to be taken seriously. — Oscar Wilde

Yesterday I came across a post on Fish, a blog I read pretty much every day.  Since it is short, I’ll quote the whole thing.  The link is here, if you want to click through and read the comments.

Overheard at dinner:

“These brownies are excellent!”


“I mean, I’m sorry you might have cancer, but these brownies are really good.”

I laughed so hard, I thought I might pee. Not because cancer is funny, but because I’m just glad there are other people out there who recognize what’s really important in life. Like brownies. Cause the only thing worse than dying from cancer would be dying without having had a really, really good brownie.

In the comments, which could be good for amusement purposes, several people freaked out and called the author of the post “insipid, thoughtless, and heartless.”  I thought the post was funny when I first read it, and I still think so now.

This, of course, made me think about grief and loss.  I might not have felt qualified to talk about this six months ago, knowing that everyone grieves differently and that there is technically no right or wrong way to do so, but now…  Now I am going to go ahead and step up.  I am going to declare, by virtue of a lost son, that I have the right to speak about the deepest depths of grief and pain.

And so, what do I think?  I think you’ll never get through it if you don’t make yourself laugh and smile.  Notice, I didn’t say “allow yourself.”  You must MAKE yourself.  Like anything else, surviving grief is an active process.  You must desperately desire to feel better, to make it through the darkest of your grief, and to find a reason to continue.  Some days those reasons seem flimsy and worthless, but hang on to them anyway.

I firmly believe that where the grief train lets you off, whatever emotional stop you end up on, has a lot to do with your own choices.  Do you honestly want to feel better, to be happy again, to move forward?  Or, do you want to sit at home in the dark, wasting away and drowning in your sadness?  YOU make that choice.

That being said, I very much believe that grief can have extremely different processes for different people.  If you still want to cry in the dark after six weeks or six months, I am not here to tell you you’re wrong… as long as you don’t let yourself stay there.  If you do, I think you are doing yourself, and the people who genuinely care for you, a huge disservice.

Like anything else worth doing, you must WANT this, and you have to work for it.  Surviving grief is not simply about passively letting the process work through you.  It is about getting up, every single day, and deciding what you want… first out of that day, and second out of life in general.

This process for Aaron and I has not been easy.  I am still sometimes practically overcome by moments of sadness, hours of grief, days of darkness.  I have lost, and so those bits of grief will always be with me to some degree.  Not only is that alright, it serves as a comfort in some way.  I will not forget, and for that I am glad even if it means that sometimes I break down unexpectedly in public places.

But in the end, I wake up every morning determined to live my life to the fullest, in honor of Aodin and all that we have lost.  Through this I have discovered amazing depths of love and support in my personal relationships.  I have found that my marriage can withstand anything.  I have learned that Aaron and I both possess individual wells of strength and determination that run deep and true.  We can do anything, and together we are practically invincible.

That, for me, is what grief is becoming.  It is a process, and I must actively choose to focus on the positive things every day.  I could cry in the dark, and I know myself well enough to know when I truly need to do just that.  So I do.  I let myself cry for ten minutes or so, and then I call my husband or my mother, who I can count on to listen, understand, and then make me laugh.

I laugh, I love, I cry.

I am.

8 Responses to “Good Brownies”

  1. meg February 13, 2008 at 11:44 am #

    What a great, perfect post. I am trying so very hard to do what you have described here. Yes, this is hard, but it is a choice to stay in that dark, dark place and make no effort to try. It is. And focusing on the positive is such a good thing to do, for us and those around us.

  2. Amy February 13, 2008 at 1:45 pm #

    THANK YOU! I think sometimes that the only thing that pulls me through is others optimism (namely, YOU!) I do believe in what you are saying and I know that we have to make that choice. I am making the choice to get through EVERYDAY, in order to get closer to William. I am making the choice to get through EVERYDAY to be a better person than I was before all of this. I will never be the same as I was before so maybe I can be better. I hope I can be better for William’s sake so it is not all for nothing! Thank you for your optimism, thank you for restoring some of mine!

  3. Wondy February 13, 2008 at 1:56 pm #

    There are no words for how fab you are, this post is wonderful, positive and gorgeous. Love you and everything that you stand for x x

  4. c. February 13, 2008 at 2:36 pm #

    H., you and that freakin’ optimism. Just let it go, babe, let it go ;o)

    I mean, I have to agree with what you’ve said, I really do believe it is a choice that we make, just like everything else in our lives. But, sometimes, no, a lot of time, it’s just so easy to make the negative choice. It’s easier to be overwhelmed by this grief than to work at being happy again. Especially when I feel like I am being disloyal to my dead son by being happy again. I know that’s screwed up. I know that is not the right way to look at it. I know this. It’s just so hard. It’s just so fresh. And, it just hurts too much to want to do anything different some days.

    Maybe tomorrow. We’ve always got that, don’t we. And, that’s more than our babies got. XO.

  5. Ruby February 13, 2008 at 4:11 pm #

    I love the honesty and emotion in your blog. Grief can be overpowering and it is important to acknoledge and feel it but it is also important to make yourself smile, call on those who support you etc. This much I know.

  6. Caryn February 13, 2008 at 9:08 pm #

    I love you, H. *hug*

    C. — I don’t think it’s screwed up to feel disloyal by being happy again. I’ve never lost a child, but when I lost my Dad two years ago, I felt so guilty when I had a good day. I thought, “How can I be okay already? This is my FATHER! I am such a bad daughter.” I know it’s not true. I wasn’t being disloyal. Dad wouldn’t want me to be unhappy. I don’t think your son would want you unhappy, either. But it’s not screwed up to feel like that. *hugs to you*

  7. Coggy February 14, 2008 at 2:38 pm #

    Come live with me and kick my ass into touch 🙂 I am struggling right now but deep down I know you’re right. x

  8. a- February 16, 2008 at 1:15 pm #

    Thank you for this post.

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